At 14,000 square feet, The Climbing Wall might be the next best thing to the great outdoors. Challenges abound for climbers, as the staff resets the routes several times a week. Top-roping walls stretch up to 30 feet high and present participants with obstacles such as overhangs and slabs. The bouldering walls are equally as imposing, with three top outs. Both adults and kids can take classes to learn how to tackle the walls and show off their skills in the real world by skipping the stairs and climbing up to their bedrooms.
Adrenaline flows freely inside Laser Storm Pittsburgh's laser-tag battleground as teams of players wage infrared war over objectives and bases. In addition to hosting laser battles, Laser Storm offers an arcade filled with skee-ball, three big-screen arcade games, and other ticket-spewing machines. Any tickets won in the arcade can be used to purchase prizes from a well-stocked booth or attached to a fishing line to lure laser-tag enemies out of their hiding spots.
The experienced climbing staff at Climb North oversees an indoor facility with 30 rock-climbing paths. In addition to advanced climbing routes and bouldering walls, there’s a beginning climbing area for the uninitiated and a grassy slope for mountain goats. The facility also offers monthly packages to avid climbers and party rentals for adventurous celebrations, which include cakes and snacks in a decorated party area before group climbs.
Sprawling across 16 acres of mountain terrain atop Wisp Resort and the 550-acre Fork Run Recreation Area forest, Adventure Sports Center International immerses thrill seekers in a range of river sports, climbing, hiking, and other outdoor programs. On the river, experienced rafting guides—some of whom are U.S. Olympians—pilot adventurers down a one-third-mile artificial whitewater river, through four classes of changeable but authentic rapids bordered by boulders excavated onsite. Those who have reached the bottom return to the starting pool on a raft conveyor belt that defies gravity better than when Newton threw apples back into the trees. In the forest preserve, visitors frolic along rugged mile-long trails on bike or on foot, or scale natural limestone boulders and ledges. Climbing guides teach basic bouldering and rappelling while keeping the ledges clear of heckling mountain goats, or send adventurers off geocaching to hunt for a container hidden somewhere on the rocks or forest floor.
As visitors explore freely, youths hone academic and social skills through outdoor adventure and learning programs where guides teach them to raft, kayak, climb, mountain bike, and hike using only their imaginations and any required gear. The center’s artificial aquatic park and preserve have also hosted a range of festivals and competitions, including seven national whitewater championships and a bouldering championship.